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Make a Pomander of Oranges, Cloves, and Spices

Oranges for wrapping with whole cloves.

Oranges for wrapping with whole cloves.

Cloves are a spice. They can be purchased whole or ground. Whole cloves have a spiked end that is easily poked into citrus fruit and even apples.

Cloves are a spice. They can be purchased whole or ground. Whole cloves have a spiked end that is easily poked into citrus fruit and even apples.

Holiday Crafts

Planning for the Holidays is as much fun as celebrating the holidays. An old fashioned orange or lemon clove pomander is easy to make and will bring the smells of the season into your home. These can be prepared ahead in late November or early December to get you ahead of the game. Here are the instructions and tips for use.

Place a bowl of oranges or other citrus fruit alongside a bowl of cloves on your table and you will be surprised at how many times you or other family members pass the time working on these spicy citrus pomanders.

Tip: If you are feeling adventurous you might poke holes in an apple and stuff with cloves. The smell is fantastic!

Orange pomander with green ribbon.

Orange pomander with green ribbon.

Orange pomander with red velvet ribbon.

Orange pomander with red velvet ribbon.

Spicey Scent of the Holidays

The scent of citrus mingled with cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg brings up thoughts of Christmas Past...long past. I have been making these fragrant pomanders since the days when my children were little. I also loved working on these fragrant clove balls with my grandchildren when they were smaller and needed fun ideas to keep them busy.

You will need to assemble the ingredients before you get started.

Orange Clove Pomander

Fragrant Orange Clove Pomanders

  • A medium-sized thin-skinned orange (As many as you plan to make)
  • 1/2 cup whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup orris root powder
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • fork to pierce skin of orange
  • Ribbon
  • Rack for drying
Small oranges and whole cloves.

Small oranges and whole cloves.

Orange pomanders ready for spices.

Orange pomanders ready for spices.

Whole cloves

Whole cloves




Creating these pomanders is a very simple process. The most important part of the process is deciding on the design of the cloves on the oranges. You will need some nice festive ribbons as well. Mix the spices before you get started. You can make many designs with the cloves lined from top to bottom. You can criss cross the pattern, or cover the entire orange with cloves before dusting with the spice mixture.

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Instructions for Drying Pomanders

These pomanders will keep for months when properly dried. If you want to keep these pomanders for use in closets and drawers it will be important to let them dry up. This usually takes two to three weeks.

  1. They will need to be placed in a box with holes in the bottom to allow air to get to the oranges and speed up the drying process.
  2. You will need to roll them in the spices occasionally.
  3. This drying process is very important because if the air cannot get to the oranges they will get moldy and at this point you will have to discard them and start over.
  4. Once they are dry these pomanders will last for many years. You will be able to freshen them with spices or essential oils and they will be good as new.

Fresh Pomanders

If you want to use the pomanders immediately you can do that, too!

  1. Create fun designs on the oranges and skip the spices.
  2. Tie ribbons on the oranges and hang.
  3. A display of several clove studded oranges with different lengths of ribbon makes a nice hanging.
  4. Pile into a bowl or on a platter and tie with ribbons or add greenery and pine cones.

Use your imagination and come up with creative ways to display your creation. These pomanders make excellent gifts, too!

Home Made Pomanders

History of Pomanders

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I pomanders were worn as an ornament. Sometimes they were placed around the neck and at others they would hang from the waist. Studded with cloves and rosemary they were a fragrant reminder of the Season. The first pomanders were made of apples, studded similarly to the current practice of studding oranges with cloves. However, apples do not last as long as oranges and do not dry out so well for long lasting use.

Making Holiday Crafts

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Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on November 25, 2013:

Thank you for your suggestion. It has been a while since I made these and you are right. Gloves would be a big help. Do you have a suggestion to bring out the smell in the house? Would love to hear about it.

Anna Christie from London, United Kingdom on November 25, 2013:

I tried making these and they smell really nice but I find you need a lot to bring the smell out at home. Also when you're making the oranges with cloves it's a good idea to wear some gloves otherwise the cloves can end up scratching your fingers.

Holle Abee from Georgia on March 30, 2010:

I used to make these at Christmas. Thanks for reminding me!

Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on November 16, 2009:

Thanks, Pamela99. I love these pomanders. They take me on a walk down memory lane. I have them drying in the breakfast room and they really smell great!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 16, 2009:

Good hub Smireles. They smell so nice. I haven't made one for years but you may have inspired me.

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